Locally Designed & Custom Built For West Coast Whale Watching
Ocean Magic and Ocean Magic II are identical vessels designed to maximize comfort without compromising viewing quality, all while minimizing environmental impact. If you’re a fan of flexibility, the Ocean Magics are the boats for you. Not sure if you want to sit inside or outside? Feel free to move around any time to explore the glass enclosed heated forward cabin, or one of two large outdoor viewing decks. Still can’t decide? How about the best of both worlds? The mid-ship cabin is covered, but features open-air windows which provide a generous view from side to side, so you can still take pictures, but are a bit more sheltered. The Magics are the vessel of choice for photographers because they provide and smooth stable ride, allowing for photography at speed, and the open cabins and viewing decks provide the perfect platform for spectacular pics.
Both of our Ocean Magic vessels were designed and constructed specifically to provide an exceptional west coast whale watching experience. They are equipped with twin CAT turbo diesel engines powering Arneson surface drives, which are designed to maximize efficiency by minimizing underwater drag. In addition, the above water exhaust system limits underwater noise production. With a carrying capacity far greater than that found on a similar sized open vessel, the carbon footprint of the individual is drastically reduced.
On board each vessel you will have an experienced captain, and two or three passionate naturalists who will provide a running commentary outlining all the cool things you can hope to see on the Salish Sea; many with advanced degrees. These naturalists are also make up your Transport Canada certified crew of a first mate and deckhands. We typically operate with more crew than is required by Transport Canada, exceeding safety regulations and ensuring you always have someone nearby to answer your questions. Check out our Expert Guides page to meet your crew!
We understand that three hours on the water can seem like a long time; if you get hungry or need to use the facilities while on board, we’ve got you covered. The Magics each have two washrooms and a well-stocked snack bar. We open up several times throughout the tour so you can grab a hot or cold drink and light snacks. And you can feel good about getting that chocolate bar or hot chocolate because every year the crew sponsors the rehabilitation of an injured sea bird through SPCA’s WildARC program, using proceeds from the snack bar.
With the ability to keep pace with the zodiacs at 30kts (or 55km/h), Ocean Magic and Ocean Magic II are able to travel over a hundred kilometer range within three hours. This maximizes the chances of locating whales and other marine life, and one of the reasons we are able testify to a 95% success rate (May-October). This also makes the Ocean Magic fleet the fastest large covered boats in the industry.
Bottom line, consider the Ocean Magic if want to bring the whole family, learn a lot, take some amazing pictures, and maybe cuddle up with a hot chocolate on the way back.
Robust RHIB’s (aka Zealous Zodiacs)
In addition to the Ocean Magics, we also operate a small navy of 10 RHIB’s, or rigid-hulled inflatable boats out of Victoria. This style of boat is best known by the brand name Zodiac, and most boats of this description are called zodiacs, even if they’re not Zodiac brand. They are widely utilized by the coast guard and navy as part of search and rescue operations as they are the ideal vessel for punishing conditions. This is because the rigid hull allows for precise maneuverability, while the inflatable tubes keep it seaworthy even if it takes on large volumes of water.
Obviously we don’t push our zodiacs to those extremes, but it’s nice to know they’re designed to take a beating! So why do we use zodiacs? Because of their low weight they are extremely fast and efficient; and their quick handling makes them super fun to ride, and drive! Ours are powered by twin 200 horsepower Mercury engines and can exceed 30kts, or about 55km/h. Choose the zodiac if you want all out adventure, you’ll never forget this ride.
On board the zodiac you’ll be kitted out in a full body cruiser suit that will keep you cozy in all seasons, as well as warm hats (called toques here in Canada) and gloves. Conducting your tour will be one of our many experienced, qualified, and passionate skippers who will answer all of your questions and provide a fascinating array of information about everything there is to see. Check out the Expert Guides page to see who it may be.
Bottom line, consider the zodiacs if you want whale watching with a side of non-stop action.
MS-195 HX Integrity™ Flotation Suit
We provide all of our guests travelling aboard the zodiacs stylish red flotation suits. These suits serve a dual function, as both a life preserver (required by Transport Canada) and as an anti-exposure suit. Even on beautiful sunny days, it can be quite chilly on the water when travelling at 30 knots! With these suits, you are certain to be warm and comfortable for the duration of your tour. Guests travelling with us outside of summer months are strongly recommended to bring extra warm layers to wear under the suit. Mustang Survival flotation suits are designed to protect the wearer from foul or cold weather and use closed-cell foam to offer flotation and hypothermia protection in the event of water immersion. We carry suits that fit children from the age of seven up to adults in XXXL.